Death of the Moguls is a detailed assessment of the last days of the “rulers of film.” Wheeler Winston Dixon examines the careers of such moguls as Harry Cohn at Columbia, Louis B. Mayer at MGM, Jack L. Warner at Warner Brothers, Adolph Zukor at Paramount, and Herbert J. Yates at Republic in the dying days of their once-mighty empires. He asserts that the sheer force of personality and business acumen displayed by these moguls made the studios successful; their deaths or departures hastened the studios’ collapse. Almost none had a plan for leadership succession; they simply couldn't imagine a world in which they didn’t reign supreme.
Covering 20th Century-Fox, Selznick International Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Paramount Pictures, RKO Radio Pictures, Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures, Republic Pictures, Monogram Pictures and Columbia Pictures, Dixon briefly introduces the studios and their respective bosses in the late 1940s, just before the collapse, then chronicles the last productions from the studios and their eventual demise in the late 1950s and early 1960s. He details such game-changing factors as the de Havilland decision, which made actors free agents; the Consent Decree, which forced the studios to get rid of their theaters; how the moguls dealt with their collapsing empires in the television era; and the end of the conventional studio assembly line, where producers had rosters of directors, writers, and actors under their command.
Complemented by rare, behind-the-scenes stills, Death of the Moguls is a compelling narrative of the end of the studio system at each of the Hollywood majors as television, the de Havilland decision, and the Consent Decree forced studios to slash payrolls, make the shift to color, 3D, and CinemaScope in desperate last-ditch efforts to save their kingdoms. The aftermath for some was the final switch to television production and, in some cases, the distribution of independent film.
Community Life Among the Urban Elderly
Hyper-criminalization and the normalization of violence was an integral aspect of Robert Weide’s formative years growing up in Los Angeles in the 1980s and 1990s, where Sureño, Crip, and Blood gangs maintained a precarious coexistence, often punctuated by racialized gang violence. His insider status informs Divide & Conquer, which considers how the capitalist economy, the race concept, and nationalist ideology have made gang members the instruments of their own oppression, resulting in racialized sectarian conflicts spanning generations between African American and Latino gangs in Los Angeles and California’s prisons.
While gang members may fail to appreciate the deeper historical and conceptual foundations of these conflicts, they rarely credit naked bigotry as the root cause. As Weide asserts, they divide themselves according to inherited groupist identities, thereby turning them against one another in protracted blood feuds across gang lines and racial lines.
Weide explores both the historical foundations and the conceptual and cultural boundaries and biases that divide gang members across racial lines, detailing case studies of specific racialized gang conflicts between Sureño, Crip, and Blood gangs. Weide employs mixed-methods research, having spent nearly a decade on ethnographic fieldwork and conducted over one hundred formal interviews with gang members and gang enforcement officers concerning taboo subjects like prison and gang politics, and transracial gang membership.
Divide & Conquer concludes with encouraging developments in recent years, as gang members themselves, on their own volition, have intervened to build solidarity and bring racialized gang conflicts between them to an end.
The New Deal introduced sweeping social, political, and cultural change across the United States, which Hollywood embraced enthusiastically. Then, when the heady idealism of the 1930s was replaced by the paranoia of the postwar years, Hollywood became an easy target for the anticommunists. A Divided World examines some of the important programs of the New Deal and the subsequent response of the film community—especially in relation to social welfare, women’s rights, and international affairs. The book also provides an analysis of the major works of three European directors—Billy Wilder, Ernst Lubitsch, and Fritz Lang—compared and contrasted with the products of mainstream Hollywood. This is a new interpretation of an influential period in American film history and it is sure to generate further debate and scholarship.
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